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Outdated 939 Rig: Upgrade or New Build?

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January 16, 2008 3:36:16 PM

Hey All, thanks for reading.

I built a socket 939 rig a few years back that's way past it's prime. I'm not sure if it's worth the expense trying to upgrade it and I was wondering if some knowledgable souls here at TH could offer me some guidance? My system is used primarily for gaming so I want rig that gets good fps on the latest games, but I'm also trying to maximize cost/performance wherever practical.

Current System Specs:
EVGA 133-K8-NF41 nForce4 SLI
AMD 64 3700 2.2GHz
GeForce 7800 GT 258MB
3GB RAM
3DMark06 Score = 3549

....................................................

Upgrades Planned:
AMD Opteron 185 Denmark 2.6GHz (Dual-Core) $235.00
2x GeForce 8600 GTS 512MB $339.98
OCZ GameXStream ATX12V 700W PSU $134.99


I was curious if you all thought these upgrades would give me enough boost in gaming performance to warrant the cost, or if I should just go ahead and put that money towards a new AM2 system? Since 939 is phased out I'm particularly concerned about the processor upgrade. Even though it's a dual-core it's doesn't seem like much of a difference in GHz, and I'm leary of a potential bottleneck if I go SLI. Also, I noticed the AM2 RAM and processors seem cheaper on average to 939 so I might be able to get more bang for my buck with AM2.

What do you all think, is this worth the money or am I just prolonging the inevitibilty of my 939 paper weight? :D 
Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Justin







a b B Homebuilt system
January 16, 2008 3:46:25 PM

If you want to hold on to socket 939, here's what you might consider, pick up an AMD Athlon x2 4200+ from newegg, or ebay, etc. for about $65-70 bucks, that would get you dual cores, which does help a lot btw, just stepped up from a 939 3500+ into an AM2 5200 x2.....WOW what a difference. Maybe overclock it to satisfy you a while, but I would not pay that much for the opty, now maybe if you find a dual core opteron 165 on ebay that you could overclock cheap, might be worth it.

Also, junk the 8600 gts idea. Decent cards, but with the money you save on the chip, you could be looking at 8800 gt's, which you could carry over later. Or in a month or 2, I think Nvidia is bringing out their 9600gt, which it may be worth your while to wait it out and see what that's gonna bring.


Just doing some quick checking, found this

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

Didn't see 4200's on newegg or tiger in stock, but that if overclocked, considering it did well in overclocking, might be your cheapest bet, otherwise, I think I'd look at AM2+ board, x2 chip, and 2 gb of ddr2 memory.
a c 103 B Homebuilt system
January 16, 2008 4:03:27 PM

I would personally go for the opty 180 it is only 169 on newegg and go for a single 8800GT it will outperform the 2 8600gts cards and cheaper.
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January 16, 2008 4:21:07 PM

Yeah, don't spend quite so much on a processor. Look for a lower cost Opty that will overclock well. Definitely go for a better, single video card, the 8800 GT will be perfect for the dough.

Your processor will bottleneck it a tad when playing at lower resolutions, but the additional performance will make it worth the little bit extra you paid for it.

I'm running a S939 Opty 170 that I've clocked up to 2.7 ghz, and with my 8800 GTS 640 it does wonderfully and will hold me over for at least another year.

I think, with the video card upgrade though, you are right on the edge of whether it is a better idea to upgrade to a newer system. I was in the same boat a year ago when I got my Opty and it made sense, plus I only had to upgrade my processor at the time. A year later though, I would put the money into a new system.

You're going to have to buy a new graphics card either way, as well as a new power supply and a new processor. So what you really need to look at is the performance you will gain from a newer system vs. the performance of an upgraded S939 system, weighed against the additional cost for new memory and motherboard.

The more I write, the more I'm sure I'd go new system.
a c 83 B Homebuilt system
January 16, 2008 4:49:57 PM

For gaming, I would suggest upgrading the vga card first, and see how it goes, that is the most important component. A 8800GTS-512-G92 would be about twice as fast as what you have.
You could keep your current psu. I suspect that you would be pleased with the results. Get the evga unit in case you might want to step-up to something bigger within the next 90 days.

If you then think that the cpu is keeping you from happiness, then look at upgrading it, or doing a new build. In any case the 8800gts-512-g92 can be carried forward.
January 16, 2008 5:06:13 PM

Thanks for the input you guys offered me thus far, I really appreciate it!

I like the idea of overclocking a cheaper dual-core processor and investing in one 8800GT or 9600GT vid card over the two cheaper 8600's in SLI.

...I've never overclocked though, and I'm a bit concerned about trying it. I heard AMD's aren't very stable to OC and this was my first PC build in a cramped mid-sized ATX case with terrible ventilation. (At stock my temps are in the 90F-115F range.) Would investing in all the extra cooling components and headaches of keeping a cheaper OC'd processor stable be worth it? Also, if I were to damage my processor making a OC mistake could I damage the my mobo as well? LOL, if I screw up I could end up having to go AM2 anyway. :D 

Also, I don't particularly have my heart set on sticking with this 939. I've had a good run with this PC, and if it would be better to move on to a new system it wouldn't be a big deal. So if you guys think going with AM2 is wiser than trying to OC everything to salvage this 939 please let me know.

January 16, 2008 5:32:42 PM

Yes, it is possible to damage the processor and motherboard as well if you do something dumb, but as all good overclocking guides will tell you, make tiny changes one at a time, and that minimizes the risk. While not a crazy overclocker, I've never damaged anything. Patience is the key. It took me about 4 Saturdays to figure mine out, and a lot of research before hand.

If you look around on the forums here, you should be able to get a feel for what is good at overclocking, and what isn't. That is why I bought my Opty 170, because it was supposed to be so very stable.

If you have a cramped case with poor airflow, I wouldn't even mess with it. Good airflow and a lot of space is a must. I waited until I found a good deal on a Tuniq 120 Tower and an Antec 900 case before I started messing with any OCing. Plus, having extremely good airflow lets me keep all my fans on low, so even OCed my system is nearly silent.

As far as if investing in extra stuff and the headaches, I didn't OC until I wanted to do it for fun, just to see what I could do, and I had success. I had been preparing for a while, picking up a new power supply here, buying good overclocking memory there, getting a good OC cpu...and just waited until all the pieces were in place before doing it. I'm not sure it is a good idea to try and overclock if you feel pressured to get a high clock to get the performance you desire. Pressure will lead to impatience, and that is when you'll crank your voltage too high and blow something.

Since you're planning to upgrade anyway, I'd say look up some overclocking guides, and play around with overclocking what you have. You might need to spend just a tiny bit on a new heat sink, or some more fans for your case. See what you can do, get comfortable with the software tools you'll need. If you enjoy it, and think you would like to try it with your new system, go for it. If you don't like it, and find yourself too worried/impatient, then purchase accordingly. And if it blows up, well...you were going to buy new stuff anyway.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 16, 2008 5:39:09 PM

Just FYI, for a little less than the $575 you originally planned for an upgrade to your S939 system, you can get an AM2 motherboard (ASUS M2N-E) X2-5200 (AM2-Brisbane), 2 Gig DDR2-800 RAM (A-DATA) and an 8800GT-512 (EVGA). Total is $498 + S&H.

-Wolf sends
January 16, 2008 6:30:31 PM

2x GeForce 8600 GTS 512MB for $339.98?

Wow. What an incredibly crappy idea.
January 16, 2008 7:07:04 PM

rolli59 said:
I would personally go for the opty 180 it is only 169 on newegg and go for a single 8800GT it will outperform the 2 8600gts cards and cheaper.

BINGO!
I have had no trouble setting up those Optrons to run @ 3Ghz on stock volts.
I would also use some DDR-500 ram as well (click on my advitar to see my specs for my seven computer home LAN).
Socket 939 still kicks ass.
!